Samantha´s Story - Being a Trainee Consultant at VWA
Picture the scene. The year is 2018 – Theresa May is the Prime Minister, Tik Tok is just starting to become a global phenomenon and Corona is still just a beer.
On the 7:03 Sittingbourne to London Bridge train, a young individual was on her way to her first day of work in London – a bag of nerves, excitement and delight that she was finally starting on a career that she was excited about.
That was me, three years ago, on the way to my first day at VWA. I’d just spent two years working in a school in an administrative capacity and, after spending the summer searching for entry-level roles in recruitment and HR, I finally secured a role and couldn’t wait to begin!
Fast forward to Summer 2021 and I’m a fully-fledged Consultant with a diverse client base and have successfully placed a range of roles – from Executive Assistants in management consultancies, financial services and creative agencies right the way through to Fashion Designers and Marketing Managers for start-up fashion brands.
So, why should you apply for a Trainee Consultant role at VWA? Here is the story of my journey, and what I’ve learnt along the way.
Training and Learning The Ropes
My first two - three weeks within the role involved getting my head around the recruitment jargon and learning about the different types or roles we work on at VWA. This involved not just research and reading the information for the vacancies we were working on at the time, but also involved shadowing my colleagues on their calls – not only hearing what questions they were asking, but also understanding the kinds of responses the candidates were providing. From there, I began to conduct my own candidate calls.
After a few weeks, I began to sit in on the teams' interviews and, after receiving comprehensive training from Victoria, began conducting interviews. I found that I loved (and still do love) interviewing candidates - hearing about other people's jobs and experiences in areas you didn't even know existed - it's fascinating!
What I loved about the candidate-facing elements of my role was that you constantly learn, as the roles we take on are all so different. You certainly get to understand the niches of particular roles in particular industries, but with every new role is something new to learn, so your knowledge is always expanding!
From Trainee to Consultant
I gradually began to transition into a more client-facing position after around nine months. This started initially by covering for other consultants when they were on holiday and attending client visits with more senior consultants before I was promoted to Consultant shortly after my one-year anniversary at VWA!
Being in an initial candidate-facing role was a huge advantage when I became a Consultant. By building up your knowledge of the kind of candidates these roles require, you begin your Consultant role already with expertise of exactly what it is clients need in their searches.
What skills do you learn as a Trainee Consultant?
The most obvious one is communication. I’ve always been a confident communicator – showing people around campus on university campus days and am usually among the loudest voices in the room – but working in recruitment has really taken my skills to the next level. For a start, you’re meeting or speaking with people from all backgrounds, using not only your customer service skills but also your emotional intelligence and adaptability. Through interviewing – and from the comprehensive interview training provided – I have also been able to practise the art of active listening, and seen this in practise not just in my job but in my personal life too.
Teamwork is also an essential part of working at VWA. We are a truly collaborative team here where you are rarely working alone to fill a role – and even if you do find yourself running with a role, your peers are always available to help with any question or queries, regardless of how big or small.
It won’t take that long within the role for you to pick up a huge degree of industry knowledge. Each candidate-call you make, each new role that you are briefed on by the team, adds to your understanding of recruitment and the industries and clients we work with. By the time you become a Consultant, you will already have a solid understanding and knowledge of clients and their needs, based primarily on your resourcing knowledge. From there, you will be able to perform all the functions of a Consultant with ease: from taking job briefs, to sourcing candidates, arranging interviews and negotiating offers.
Patience. It is no secret that recruitment is not always the easiest industry to work in as so much of your role relies on other people – who are, of course, famously unpredictable. You can work closely with a candidate for several weeks, only for them to find a job elsewhere and no longer require our services. You can get three candidates to final stage for an interview process, only for the client to hire the one candidate that didn’t come to them through VWA. The trick is to not take any part of your role too personally – and remember, the bad times only make the good times seem that much better!
What are the advantages of working at VWA?
Besides learning all the skills above, the biggest advantage for me was to find myself on a firm career path in a supportive, friendly and genuinely wonderful team. There are no egos to deal with here – you hear so many horror stories about cutthroat recruitment agencies where Consultants vie for clients, are terminated for one target not met, and cold, faceless recruitment practices where multiple CVs are simply forwarded across to clients with no thought given to personality, and no creativity and initiative shown at any stage of the process. At VWA, the whole team pull together to ensure you are developing within your career and learning every day, and realistic individual and team targets are in place to encourage you in a hands-off and fairly relaxed fashion.
Perhaps the best thing about being a Consultant is the part where you are able to tell someone that they have been successful in a process and have been offered their dream job. You’ll have screams, laughter and sometimes even tears of joy – it’s an emotional and wonderful part of our job that never gets old – even for those in the team who have been doing it for years!
Oh – and the team trips to the pub after work aren’t bad either!
I am so grateful for my time at VWA and what I have learnt over the past three years. When I joined, I wasn’t sure if recruitment was going to be a long-term career for me and if I’m being honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started! But it’s been a fantastic journey so far, and I can’t wait to see what the next three years will bring!
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